Too Early for Predictions: Harry Douglas


October 7, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas (83) runs with the ball against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

I just got back from a long car ride from Florida and am feeling pretty tired.  I wanted to do my predictions for Roddy today, but I’m really in a Harry Douglas kind of mood.  I don’t usually hear a lot of love for the Falcon slot receiver.  That’s probably because he is so severely overshadowed by all the receiving talent on the roster.  With the best tight end of all time, two of the top five wide receivers in the league, and now two pass catching running backs, this guy can get forgotten about.  In fact, he can catch a lot of heat by not really being on that level.

When it all comes down to it, Harry Douglas very well could be the number two guy on any given team.  He could even be the number one guy on a few teams.  He doesn’t run extremely precise routs and his hands aren’t suction cups, but he can beat defenders and he absolutely can come down with an important catch (see miracle catch against the raiders last year.)  My point being he does his job, and he does it pretty damn well.  But it is real hard to get great numbers with three great players in front of you.

Last year, HD had 38 receptions for 395 yards.  That probably doesn’t rank very high amongst other team’s slot receiver, but it must be considered that most team’s slot guy is usually the second choice.  Third if they have a good tight end.  Considering the amount of targets, Harry Douglas wasn’t the third choice, or even the fourth choice.  That’s right; four other players were targeted more than HD.  Pulling out 400 yards and a touchdown as the team’s fifth receiver is still pretty impressive.

The Falcons do still love to pass and if they want to make another run to the superbowl, they need several players to step up.  Douglas is one of those players.  He doesn’t have to have superstar numbers, but if he can grow just a little bit, it could make another huge difference in the season.  He’s young and he’s smart and I know he can, but how much of a chance will he get?  With Jackson’s receiving ability, HD may even slip as the sixth choice for Matty Ice.  I’m sure he’ll make the best of what he is given.

Look for him to make 30 Receptions and 350 yards, but 4 touchdowns.  Atlanta loves misdirecting and I believe they use that in the red zone. I’ll bet on seeing 4 times throughout the season and once or twice in the playoffs where Matt Ryan drives down the field using Julio, Roddy, and Tony as if Harry never existed and surprise them with a wide open catch in the end zone.

Harry Douglas is much better than his numbers show.  He needs to be planned against and if a team forgets about him, they will pay.  Stats don’t tell the story of Harry Douglas.  Any Falcons fan can tell you how much of an underrated game changer this guy can be.

How do you think this guy does next year?